Former spy's daughter released from hospital

Published on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 21:06
Written by The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - The spy saga that has gripped much of Britain since March took a positive turn Tuesday as nerve agent victim Yulia Skripal was released from the hospital, more than a month after she was poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

Her father Sergei remains hospitalized after the poisoning, which Britain says took place on the orders of the Russian government.

“This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone,” said Dr. Christine Blanshard, medical director of Salisbury District Hospital.

She said she would not provide details about Yulia Skripal’s condition for reasons of patient privacy. The 33-year-old has been taken to a secure location.

Blanshard said Sergei Skripal, 66, the apparent target of the attack, is recovering more slowly than his daughter but continues to improve.

“Both patients have responded exceptionally well to the treatment we’ve been providing. But, equally, both patients are at different stages in their recovery,” she said.

She said no date has been set for the elder Skripal’s release from the hospital.

The two were poisoned March 4 in an attack that has led to a prolonged confrontation between Russia and Britain that has revived Cold War tensions. Both were in critical condition for several weeks.

The British government, which accuses Russia of carrying out the attack, is likely to keep details about Yulia Skripal’s location secret, given the sensitivity of the case.

If she is well enough, she is likely to be extensively questioned by British security officials and police about her recollection of events leading up to her poisoning.

The Russian Embassy congratulated Yulia Skripal on her release in a tweet but said pointedly that Russia needs “urgent proof” that “what is being done to her is done on her own free will.”

Russia says it has no role in the attack and has demanded consular access to Yulia Skripal, who has Russian nationality.

It is not clear where the Skripals will live if they recover enough to resume normal activities. British officials may feel Sergei Skripal would not be safe to live in the open any longer.

Bob Ayers, a security analyst who used to work with the CIA, said it is possible Sergei and Yulia Skripal would be given new identities in Britain or the United States under a program like those used to protect witnesses in high-profile criminal trials.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Nation-World on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 21:06. Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2018 21:08.